How Jim got his life back
JIM Tomlinson never expected to see 2016.
Two years ago the 56-year-old Ipswich man was told by medical staff at a major Brisbane hospital his days were numbered.
Jim had a range of chronic health issues including diabetes and a faulty heart valve - he couldn't walk far and struggled to breathe.
He'd been taking insulin for 30 years and in October 2015 weighed almost 200 kg (inset picture).
He said going out in public meant being the subject of laughter and ridicule from children who would often point at him saying "look at that fat man".
After five surgeries and a lot of hard work, Jim has a new lease on life.
Since December 2015 he has lost 59 kilos. Now Jim can maintain a steady walking pace for 17 minutes and no longer takes insulin regularly.
Jim says it's all thanks to the staff at the West Moreton Hospital Health Chronic Conditions Service, which is celebrating 10 years in operation this month.
"I would be dead if it wasn't for this place," Jim said. "I'd gotten to the point where I had given up, but the doctors here never gave up on me."
Each day up to 60 people with similar stories to Jim walk through the centre's doors to be treated by a team of specialists for chronic conditions including diabetes and, heart and lung conditions.
"I've completely changed. Before I couldn't go anywhere, and even if I could, I was too embarrassed to go anyway.
"Now at least I am starting to get out and get more confidence."
In June Jim had his heart valve replaced and a pacemaker inserted.
Jim's cardiologist has since sent him a handwritten letter saying it was patients like him 'that have such a success story, that keeps people like him doing the job they do'.
Most of the people seeing staff at the Chronic Conditions Centre have similar health issues to Jim, largely related to cardiology.
Jim's physiologist Steve Bartlett says most people have difficulty changing their lifestyle and understanding what causes a chronic disease is important.
Mr Bartlett has worked at the centre for nine years and says - unlike Jim - within three to six months, a lot of patients revert back to their old lifestyle.
"Intervention is becoming more accepted in the medical community," Mr Bartlett said.
"It's considered more part of our continuum of care," Mr Bartlett said.
"There's certainly more evidence to support the good clinical outcomes from cardiac rehab and heart failure.
"Jim is testament to that as an individual."